Writing better radio commercials

If you find yourself having to write promotional or public-service copy that will be broadcast on the radio or some kind of streaming service, never forget the fact that radio doesn’t have a rewind button.

If that seems obvious or silly, consider that with a print ad, a website, or a brochure, it’s easy for the reader to scroll back, glance back, or turn to a previous page if he or she misses a key piece of information. That can’t happen with a radio commercial.

Websites, article, or blog posts may contain dozens of ideas. Since there’s no rewind button, your radio message should focus on just one. Ask yourself, “What’s the one message I want listeners to remember?,” and then write the commercial accordingly. Resist the temptation to cram message after message into your copy.

Many people listen while they’re driving or working out, which means they can’t stop to write down your phone number or web address. So if that type of response is important, make the extra effort to have a phone number or web address that’s easily memorized, and repeat it again and again.